Why World Campus is critical to the future of Penn State

World Campus – the elephant in the birdcage that merits further discussion:

World campus is the key focus of my volunteer involvement with PSU over the past several years. As a member of the Outreach and World Campus Advisory Board, I have learned how vital the future of World Campus is to Penn State.

World Campus plays a large role in:
1) Driving the future of online degree granting education
2) Educating current ‘residential’ PSU students
3) Expanding the global reach of Penn State
4) Lowering tuition and insuring the future of high quality, high impact, high value education at Penn State

Competition in the online space is growing rapidly. New entrants, more aggressive current competitors and brand new business models emerge monthly.

World Campus is the global leader in on-line degree granting education. Penn State runs a rigorous, high quality, high value program. We are far from the cheapest, but we are the best. We need to retain this positioning.

Our Board of Trustees and the new leadership need to have a laser-like focus on this part of Penn State. For those of you not familiar with World Campus, here are some quick facts:

• Over 14,000 students are taking World Campus classes, up 14% over last year.
• Minorities make up 26% of all World Campus students.
• World Campus students come from over 60 countries (and all 50 states).
• World Campus is forecast to produce over $100MM in revenue in 2014.
• Graduates are increasing at a rate over 25% a year.
• World Campus is forecast to have as many students as University Park by 2020.

Penn State defines excellence in on-line degree granting education. Every day our competitors are waking up and saying – ‘what is PSU doing and how do we copy it’? We need insure this is true three, five and ten years from now.

Over 3,000 University Park ‘residential’ students are taking World Campus classes. These students have created a ‘blended’ program. This is the new normal. Focus and attention are required to make sure we are learning from these students.

World Campus allows almost anyone, anywhere, to pursue at Penn State degree. A US Army private stationed in Afghanistan, a single mother in Arizona, a father seeking a promotion at work – they can all access a Penn State education. Students from over 60 countries are enrolled in World Campus. We are bringing Penn State to the World and the World is bringing to Penn State their knowledge, desire and experience.

World Campus will provide over $55MM worth of support to academic programs at Penn State in 2014. This $55MM helps pay for faculty, offices, staff and the other expenses of Penn State. World Campus significantly lowers the fixed costs of education and re-invests the proceeds in academic excellence. By 2020 World Campus may well provide more money to Penn State than the Commonwealth – and Penn State controls its own destiny in this regard.

The status quo is changing. Education will change more in the next five to ten years than it did in the last 100. When a student is looking for a high quality, academically rigorous degree, we need to make sure Penn State is their top choice. Penn State needs to stay focused on this opportunity – time is of the essence.


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